Making My “To-Buy” List

Well, another way to call it would be a shopping list. But we often associate a shopping list with a grocery list so I thought a “To-Buy” list would be a better name for the list of things we need (and perhaps want!) to buy.

Below are some of the things I would like to buy this year as our budget permits or as surprise provisions or blessings come in:

  1. living room sofa – We currently use a slightly pre-loved sofa which we got about 3 years ago. It still is in good condition but has been a bit discolored by now. So I thought it would be nice to get a new one some time this year.
  2. washing machine – It would be great to finally get a new, fully-automatic one 🙂
  3. work table – I have a small office/work table at home. I thought it would be great to have a bigger one so it can accommodate our printer as well as some of my files at home.
  4. bed and pillows – Our bed has been with us for 8 years. We lack a good bed frame to support our bed so getting a new one would be nice. Wait! Perhaps this should be first on the list! 🙂 I think we also need new pillows, too.
  5. guitar – I missed having a guitar at home. My husband and I play the guitar a bit. I think it’s a relaxing hobby plus we both love singing as well so a guitar is really handy at home. It’s good news then that quality guitars with great prices can also be bought online such as ibanez rg available at Musicians Friend. It saves you time and money (!) from going into stores. Plus such cool deals can be found online.
  6. stove and electric kettle  – Our stove is still functioning but I think wear and tear is at work with it 🙂  So we might need to get a new one eventually. Our electric kettle is also starting to have problems so yes, we might need a replacement for it some time soon.

Other things that need to be improved at home: water connection/sink, kitchen set-up.

I think making a “To-Buy” list for things is great. Just like our grocery list, it helps us see what needs to be bought. In the end, it helps us to better manage our finances.

Energy-Efficient Home Systems

Over the years, advanced technology has led to innovative products for the home that reduce costs and make life easier. Homeowners now have energy-efficient features for heating and cooling systems, water systems, doors and windows, and appliances that add comfort, convenience and value to a home environment.

Heating and Cooling Systems
Heating – If you have a furnace that’s over 10 years old, replacing it with a new, energy-efficient model can save you money. New Energy Star qualified furnaces have AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) ratings of 95 to 98 compared to older models with ratings as low as 65, and they provide cleaner air for your home.

Cooling – Energy Star qualified central air systems have SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings that range from 15 to 19, almost 10 percent higher that older models. They conserve energy, require less maintenance, run much quieter, and provide even temperatures throughout your home.

Programmable Thermostats – Smart thermostats let you to adjust home temperatures to fit your schedule and comfort levels. You can program the thermostat to lower temperatures while you’re asleep or away from home, an energy saving feature that can be remotely activated from any android or smart device.

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Water Systems
Energy-efficient water heaters, as well as shower heads, faucets and toilets can save you up to 20 percent on your annual water bills. Low-flow toilets save between three and four thousand gallons of water every year, and WaterSense faucets and shower heads with motion sensors can turn your water on and off by simple touch or motion as you approach.

Doors and Windows
Energy Star qualified doors and windows can save you up to $500 each year on your heating and cooling costs. They are made with energy-efficient materials that prevent air leakage and drafts to keep your home comfortable year-round. Although upfront costs can be more expensive, there are rebates and tax credits available to help you offset these costs.

Appliances
Today’s modern appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, microwave ovens, dishwashers, washers and dryers, and many small appliances come with energy-efficient features that conserve energy and add convenience to your daily tasks. You can program your appliances to turn on and off and do a variety of things, even from remote locations.

Energy-efficient upgrades will conserve energy, reduce home expenses, provide comfort and convenience, and increase the value of your home. Find out today what an energy-efficient home can do for you.

How About a Bathtub in Your Drawer?

I have this habit of checking out YouTube for home improvement, design and decorating ideas every now and then. I am particularly interested when these are focused on small spaces.  Particularly because my hubby and I don’t have a very large house ourselves — just one that exactly meets our needs 🙂  And unlike him, I am used to living in very small spaces ever since I went away to university. After all, a bigger space had always meant then (and even now), a bigger rent as well.

Now, here is a video about a small apartment that really interested (or should I say) amazed me. Maybe it’s not yours but it’s my first time to see how she has made it possible to have a bathtub even in her limited space. I say hurray to creativity indeed 🙂 Check out her tiny but cozy place and her bathtub (!) in the video below.

Clever Ways to Maximise Your Storage Space

Your home is a sanctuary and respite from a busy life. When you reach a critical mass of stuff, it can stop your life flowing freely. Stepping over junk, losing papers, and not being able to find gadgets will slow down the most organized of people. This is where the adage A place for everything; and everything in its place comes into play. Shelving, rack installations, office filing solutions; all this hardware can be utilised. However, wise choices of furniture can also help maximize storage space.

Check out companies such as Elbowroom, which moved into home storage solutions after starting out with a focus on industrial storage in 1973. This innovator has taken its framework and robust materials from the corporate world and applied them to the home.

Here are some other tips on clever ways to maximise storage throughout your home:

Your home’s entrance

Regardless of how small your place is, it has an entrance. By placing a chair or stool, hanging hooks and a small hat cupboard in it, you have the basic components to stop clutter piling up through the next stop-off in your home. People can sit down, take off their shoes, hang up their jackets and put their hats away.

Your living area

Lots of storage space in the living area means all those much-used items can be put away, creating a clearer and cleaner look. For example, ottomans with space to put snuggly winter blankets for the kids; under-unit shelves to stash video controls, cane boxes for toys or magazines. Placing two or three wall shelves can add an elegant display-based storage solution for photo frames and books.

Your kitchen

What a difference a well-organised kitchen makes to daily meal preparation. First, the pantry. Narrow shelves of 30cm are ideal, any deeper and food tends to get lost and forgotten, just ensure there are plenty of them. Try installing wall brackets to hold microwaves, while extra wall-shelves can double as stylish features and herb racks. Lots of little dedicated spaces are needed for foods, recipe books, cooking utensils, bowls, glasses and plastics if your kitchen is going to function well.

Your laundry

This critical room is often overlooked, but it shouldn’t be. It makes a fundamental difference as to how easily your clothes get washed and cleaned. The ideal laundry has a wall-hung drier and a washing machine, a cupboard for detergents and the like, a sink, and space to fold clothes. A clever idea is to wall mount shelves for laundry baskets: unsorted washing can be stashed here, as can baskets for individual family members. A good system with shelving and the right containers will pay for itself in valuable time.

Your home office

These days we are seeing home offices used for a crossover of kids’ craft, homework and bill paying as well as the actual running of businesses. So many functions; so little space. A great idea is to have dedicated spaces or boxes or drawers for these different purposes. Half a cupboard for craft; half for office supplies. Two filing drawers devoted to the business, one to house bills.

Whatever your needs or whatever is not fitting into your current space, there are storage solutions on hand. All it takes is a little creativity, a bit of thinking and voila, your life becomes smoother.

Do you have any handy home storage tips to share?